Tippie Family Gives $7 Million to Endow Professorships, Fund Experiential Learning

As a young woman growing up in western Pennsylvania, Patricia Bush Tippie admired her mother, not only for her maternal instincts, but also for her abilities as an artist.

Years later, Pat Tippie, Allegheny College Class of 1956, and her husband, Henry, have turned that admiration into a gift that will last for many years and benefit generations of Allegheny College students. The Tippies have established the Eila V. Bush Endowed Professorship in Art as part of a series of gifts totaling $7 million made during the past year to support the Our Allegheny: Our Third Century Quest comprehensive campaign.

The latest gift endows a chair that honors Eila V. Bush, who, along with her husband, Harvey, raised three children in New Castle and found the time to flourish as an artist as well.

“Before her marriage, she taught art, and painted china and pictures,” Pat Tippie says of her mother. “After raising her family, she continued painting pictures and instructing others — children and adults. I am fortunate to have one of her paintings done in 1915 with her maiden name (Hamilton) on it, and several done from the 1960s through the 1990s. I also have a china set painted by her in the early 1900s that she won a prize for designing and painting. I have always been proud of her talents.”

The first recipient of the Eila V. Bush endowed chair is Amara Geffen, professor of art. She also is the program director for the Art and Environment project in Meadville.

“It is a great honor to be the recipient of the Eila V. Bush Endowed Chair in Art. Knowing that this chair is a tribute to Patricia Bush Tippie’s mother, Eila Bush, whose life wove together the work of raising a family while also being a practicing artist and art teacher, makes this award especially meaningful for me,” Geffen said. “Beyond this honor is the reality of the Tippies’ unwavering support of the College across many decades, and now, their support of the Art Department, which hints at their recognition of the power of art in human life.

“Over the years I have had the great privilege of discussing my work with Pat, whose encouragement has meant so much to me personally and professionally,” Geffen said. “I am so very grateful that this award will help sustain my professional engagement and student engagement in this work. Because of this award, this summer I am able to begin working with Emma Cook, Allegheny College Class of 2012, and rising senior art major Madeline Becker on a project to beautify the entrance of the Medical Arts Building at 765 Liberty St. in Meadville. Stay tuned for details as the project unfolds. I would like to express my gratitude to Pat and Henry and with the deepest appreciation for Eila V. Bush, who I wish I had been able to meet.”

The Tippies also recently created the Patricia B. Tippie Endowed Professorship in Economics. The first recipient of that endowed chair is Professor Tomas Nonnenmacher, Allegheny College Class of 1990.

“It is my great honor to be awarded the first Patricia Bush Tippie Endowed Professorship in Economics,” Nonnenmacher said. “These funds are very much appreciated, especially in a time of increasing competition and tightening budgets in higher education. We are fortunate to have supporters like the Tippies who believe in the educational mission of Allegheny College.”

A third portion of the Tippies’ gift has established the Henry B. Tippie and Patricia Bush Tippie ’56 Educational Opportunities Fund. The fund supports domestic and international internships and study away opportunities for Allegheny students as well as student-faculty collaborative research. Students can receive stipends and money for travel, housing and other necessary items. Money from the fund also can be used to support program infrastructure in the Allegheny Gateway, where students explore their interests, turn those interests into experience, and then apply what they’ve learned to opportunities both in their careers and in their communities.

President James H. Mullen, Jr. said the Tippies’ generosity captures the spirit of the College’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, which has a $200 million goal.

“The Tippies are among Allegheny’s biggest boosters and supporters who have made multiple gifts through the years, gifts that will assist students not just now, but for decades to come,” Mullen said. “That is what Our Allegheny: Our Third Century Quest is about — to ensure that this great College and those who graduate from here excel in their professions and communities for many, many years.”

“We want the College to continue to be one of the best liberal arts colleges in the United States,” said Pat Tippie, a trustee emerita. “The College has changed since I was a student. We have grown in many areas and kept up with the changes and the competition with other colleges. We now have the opportunity to offer many new programs through the Gateway. I believe all of these are important, and I am happy that we are able to support the Gateway as well. We must continue to expand and provide even better opportunities than those that are available at other colleges.”

The Tippies have been long-time supporters of Allegheny. The Patricia Bush Tippie Alumni Center at Cochran Hall was renovated a decade ago through one of their gifts. They also have endowed another professorship, the Henry B. and Patricia Bush Tippie Professor of English, currently held by James C. Bulman. They also have funded a scholarship for students from New Castle to attend Allegheny.

“I received an excellent education and foundation at Allegheny that helped guide me the rest of my life,” said Pat Tippie. “We want this same experience to be available to students today.”